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Fearing China, Bluffing the EU, India Farmers, Another Election in Israel and the Week in Review

Blog / Weekly Review

Fearing China, Bluffing the EU, India Farmers, Another Election in Israel and the Week in Review

Happy Friday, friends. Remember to check out our latest podcast. If you, or someone you know, needs geopolitical risk analysis, please drop us a line at info@perchperspectives.com. For the love of frack, please wear your masks. 

Fearing China. The European Commission is preparing a proposal for a new EU-U.S. alliance against China. Foreign ministers from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to upgrade their relationship to a “strategic partnership.” NATO published its 2030 Expert Group Report and called for the alliance to assume a new political role and to work more closely together to resist the threat posed by…you guessed it, China.

What it means: At a certain point, perception becomes reality. The perception of China in both Europe and the United States is quickly becoming that China represents a zero-sum threat to “democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law,” in NATO’s words. The reality is that China, while a tremendously important global economic influence, is a prideful nation-state of limited (but growing) military power interested primarily in maintaining its fragile domestic stability whilst it undertakes colossal structural economic reforms and attempts to develop enough geopolitical leverage to eventually absorb Taiwan back into the mainland via a fait accompli. (That’s a long sentence, but hey, you try summing up China in a sentence and see how easy it is!) Does China threaten some U.S. and EU interests? Absolutely, if all countries shared the same interests all the time, presumably we’d be holding hands singing kumbaya and roasting marshmallows. The political pressure on companies with operations or important markets in China looks set to increase considerably in the coming months.

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Calling the bluff. The European Commission is considering ways to proceed with its €750 billion COVID-19 recovery fund and its overall €1.8 trillion budget and recovery package without Poland and Hungary.

What it means: Poland and Hungary have been holding up negotiations on the EU budget and recovery package for months. Now, with EU leaders set for an important spate of meetings on December 10-11, the remaining EU-25 have a difficult decision to make, namely, whether to call Poland and Hungary’s bluff and figure out some way to proceed forward without Warsaw and Budapest, or to continue allowing the EU’s economic future to be held hostage by two relatively small member-states. Considering Germany and France still seem to be on the same page, our analytical inclination is that Brussels has all the leverage here. If Brussels has the political will to use that leverage, then what might have looked like an empty threat even one year ago turns into a serious political moment in EU history. Either way, someone’s bluff is going to get called here, and we don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that the future trajectory of the EU will depend on which way the hand goes.

The future of India depends on its farmers. Tens of thousands of Indian protesters against India’s new agricultural laws, including at least some Sikhs who have invoked “Khalistan” in their demonstrations, descended on New Delhi while farmers’ representatives met with government ministers on Thursday and agreed after 7 hours of talks to continue negotiations over the weekend.

What it means: For the background on why this is so important and why you should care, whether you’re in agribusiness or interested in macro-geopolitical trends or just curious about politics, read this refresher we wrote back in June and then hit us up with your questions. We also went into some depth on this issue in our podcast with Marko.

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Another round of elections in Israel? Israel’s Knesset advanced a bill that would dissolve parliament and lead to a fourth national election in two years; Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Blue and White Party voted in favor of the measure.

What it means: We went in-depth on this in June and things have (unfortunately) turned out as we expected.

 

Honorable Mention

After winning a local election in Namibia, Adolf Hitler Uunona told the German newspaper Bild that he was not “striving for world domination” and that he would not “subjugate” the whole world.

The Austrian village formerly known as Fucking changed its name to Fugging.

Residents in the Mexican town of Chignautla, a town of roughly 30,000 located about a 4-hour drive east of Mexico City, stormed, looted, and burned the municipal palace after a protest against a plan to privatize the area’s drinking water.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández spoke to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on the phone for the first time since his election last year.

Ethiopia agreed to allow the United Nations humanitarian access to the Tigray region after the EU threatened to withhold tens of millions of euros in aid if Ethiopia did not relent.

Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, announced China plans to build a massive hydropower dam in Tibet on the Yarlung Zangbo/Brahmaputra River.

Azerbaijan took over Lachin region in Nagorno-Karabakh in a previously scheduled handover from Armenian forces.

OPEC and Russia agreed to boost oil supply by 500,000 bpd beginning in January and committed to monthly ministerial meetings in 2021 to decide future production levels.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden told New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that he would not make any changes to the Phase 1 trade agreement between the U.S. and China or any “immediate moves” regarding current U.S. tariffs on China.

New Zealand’s government declared a “climate emergency” and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government would aim to reach public sector carbon neutrality by 2025.

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